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"Rebuilding" a Prebuilt System

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March 28, 2012 6:08:40 PM

Last October I bought a prebuilt desktop for $950 with these components:

CPU: Intel i7-2600 -> see no need to change this.

Motherboard: MSI MS-7728 -> planning to replace.

Ram: 2x4 gb (Samsung PC3-10700)

GPU: Nvidia GeForce GT 545 -> reason for rebuilding system. I was planning to scout on slickdeals for a good deal on an older GPU. I saw that a few days ago GTX 480s were sold for $210, which seems like a good deal to me (power consumption is now issue). Is it worth it to buy higher end (albeit less efficient) older cards or should I rather stay with more current mid-end models? (max budget for this is close to $200)

HDD: 2tb 5400 rpm Samsung (don't know specific model) -> see no need to change this.

SSD: none yet, but I want to include a cheap 40-64gb model in my new build. This will only be holding BF3 and maybe 1 or 2 other games. Is it again ok to just check on slickdeals until a good deal pops up?

Case and PSU: this is the biggie...my current setup is totally atrocious and I will have to change both in order to accommodate the new GPU. Would it be possible to just look at the pre-build computers from the recent Tom' hardware "system builder marathon" articles and choose those combinations?

Mainly I want to use my i7 and 2tb hdd as the basis for a new build.

Edit:

Turns out I am not going to replace anything other than the mainboard, PSU and obv. GPU. Can anyone give me a good combination for those three that is around $300?


Please don't insult me for my prior purchase decisions and ignorance, I am obviously a newb at this. Also I am sorry for the wall of text.

Thanks for any help! :bounce: 
a b B Homebuilt system
March 28, 2012 6:18:39 PM

I don't see any reason to rebuild. Why don't you just drop a 6950 into your existing computer? You didn't say which PSU you currently have, but unless it's something really heinous, it should be fine with a single 6950.
March 28, 2012 6:27:43 PM

willard said:
I don't see any reason to rebuild. Why don't you just drop a 6950 into your existing computer? You didn't say which PSU you currently have, but unless it's something really heinous, it should be fine with a single 6950.


Sub 300 watts probably. I am assuming the worst.

Also the case doesn't have good ventilation and I can already hear the fans of the GT 545 work at max load while playing BF3.

Finally, I am not sure if the current mainboard has the right PCI connectors. Copy/pasted from manual:

1 PCIE x16 slot
2 PCIE x1 slots
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
March 28, 2012 6:36:00 PM

If you've got an x16 slot, you're fine. Don't worry about 1.1 vs 2.1, or anything like that. Even a lowly 1.1 slot operating at x16 supplies enough bandwidth to not choke the 6950. In fact, I have a 6950 running in a 1.1 slot in my home computer.

As far as the case goes, you might run into temperature problems with poor airflow, but I'd guess it wouldn't be anything major.

For a minimal upgrade, replacing the PSU and GPU only, you're probably looking at right around $300 after tax, shipping, etc. You really don't want to go cheap on the PSU, you'll end up paying more replacing the blown ones than if you'd bought a good one to start with.
March 28, 2012 6:42:56 PM

willard said:
If you've got an x16 slot, you're fine. Don't worry about 1.1 vs 2.1, or anything like that. Even a lowly 1.1 slot operating at x16 supplies enough bandwidth to not choke the 6950. In fact, I have a 6950 running in a 1.1 slot in my home computer.

As far as the case goes, you might run into temperature problems with poor airflow, but I'd guess it wouldn't be anything major.

For a minimal upgrade, replacing the PSU and GPU only, you're probably looking at right around $300 after tax, shipping, etc. You really don't want to go cheap on the PSU, you'll end up paying more replacing the blown ones than if you'd bought a good one to start with.


Yeah I am definitely not planning to be a cheapo when it comes to the PSU. Since I will be buying the GPU in the US and taking it to Germany I am also willing to invest into a case with better cooling for extra safety.

Anyways, thank you so much for your help! :D 
a b B Homebuilt system
March 28, 2012 6:47:33 PM

I'm guessing this is for gaming since you feel the need to upgrade the GPU.
Just some generall suggestions regaurding a "NEW" build.
1) On a new system with new MB, you will also need a new copy of windows 7. Your copy is an OEM version that can not legally be used when replacing the MB, UNLESS the MB died. Your copy may refuse to install with new MB, and if it does you may have to call MS to explain why you are installing an OEM version on a "NEW" MB.
2) PSU. That brand is considered as "bottom of the heap" although I hear that they have produced a couple of ones rated as OK recently. Remmember a PSU failure can wipe out your MB/CPU/GPU and HDDs. Added, My I5-2500k OCed to 4.2 and w/6870 GPU only draws 350 Watts at the wall.
3) MB. For SB cpus, I only recommend the Z68 series. Reason is increased functionality and for upgrading components down the line.
4) SSDs. While the 60/64 gig SSD is listed as the MINIMIUM size for an OS +Program drive the recommended size is 90 or >. Yes windows 7 + programs will fit on the 60/64 gig SSD it becomes tight and most regreat going with 60/64 Gig. Using a 64 gig as an example; real usable space is about 50 -> 54 Gigs as you lose about 4 gigs do to base 10/base 2 conversion and then you lose another 6 Gigs as you MUST leave at least 10% free (for Trim and internal CG). All 4 of my system use about 35-> 45 gigs and that does not include any games and is with hibernation disabled and windows Swap file reduced to 1 gig and "my Docs moved to a HDD.
5) Case. Mini ATA cases generally have poor airflow. For SB CPU and a realitly high end GPU I feel that a Mini case will result in higher temps for your components. Golden rule, the Cooler the Better.

ADDED: If Possible you might do better selling your old system and start from scratch - all depends on what you can get for old system.
March 28, 2012 6:55:01 PM

RetiredChief said:
I'm guessing this is for gaming since you feel the need to upgrade the GPU.
Just some generall suggestions.
1) On a new system with new MB, you will also need a new copy of windows 7. Your copy is an OEM version that can not legally be used when replacing the MB, UNLESS the MB died. Your copy may refuse to install with new MB, and if it does you may have to call MS to explain why you are installing an OEM version on a "NEW" MB.
2) PSU. That brand is considered as "bottom of the heap" although I hear that they have produced a couple of ones rated as OK recently. Remmember a PSU failure can wipe out your MB/CPU/GPU and HDDs. Added, My I5-2500k OCed to 4.2 and w/6870 GPU only draws 350 Watts at the wall.
3) MB. For SB cpus, I only recommend the Z68 series. Reason is increased functionality and for upgrading components down the line.
4) SSDs. While the 60/64 gig SSD is listed as the MINIMIUM size for an OS +Program drive the recommended size is 90 or >. Yes windows 7 + programs will fit on the 60/64 gig SSD it becomes tight and most regreat going with 60/64 Gig. Using a 64 gig as an example; real usable space is about 50 -> 54 Gigs as you lose about 4 gigs do to base 10/base 2 conversion and then you lose another 6 Gigs as you MUST leave at least 10% free (for Trim and internal CG). All 4 of my system use about 35-> 45 gigs and that does not include any games and is with hibernation disabled and windows Swap file reduced to 1 gig and "my Docs moved to a HDD.
5) Case. Mini ATA cases generally have poor airflow. For SB CPU and a realitly high end GPU I feel that a Mini case will result in higher temps for your components. Golden rule, the Cooler the Better.


Yea I copied the hypothetical component from yesterday's Main-page article, so I assumed it was good stuff. Turns out I am not planning to replace my MB after all so no worries bout windows.

As I already said above having good a airflow, temperature and PSU is extremely important for me, so I would also prefer to get a bigger case and possibly overpowered PSU just to be on the safe side.

Thanks for your input.

Edit: SSD is meant to only hold BF3 and maybe another game.
!